UK: Birmingham begins think t…

UK: Birmingham begins think tank on Open Source

27/02/2007

A think tank launched Monday will analyze the use of Open Source software in government and the private sector. The National Open Centre (NOC), based in Birmingham, is meant to develop policies to benefit from the use of open standards and Open Source software.

The policy development centre was launched this Monday at the Houses of Parliament in London. The NOC will be comprised of working groups to study topics relevant to the use of Open Source software.

Three panels have been started, on open standards, on Open Source & open standards for SMEs and on public procurement of Open Source Software. The NOC will also organise one or more seminars.

One of the founding members is the National Computing Center, a British IT membership organization. According to NCC's research manager Ed Dows the Open Centre should establish whether Open Source and open standards make a contribution. "The NOC will be independent and informed, transparent and inclusive. It will focus on evidence and logic, not interest and opinion. It will be authoritative, not simply advocate."

According to a report on the launch by IDG News Service, John Pugh, member of the British Parliament said that public sector agencies often have insufficient knowledge about Open Source and that misguided procurement policies have complicated open-source implementations. The politics around open-source software are bitter, IDG quotes Pugh. "Open source has enemies, and its enemies are very, very close to government."

Apart from the NCC, the National Open Cente is supported by the Birmingham City Council and builds on experience in a local project on software for the voluntary sector, the Midland Open Source Technologies. Another founding member is OpenAdvantage, an Open Source IT service provider. It hopes the NOC can influence Open Source and open standards strategy in the United Kingdom.

© European Communities 2007
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